Christmas is approaching – trains are filling for the holidays

Finns have been buying train tickets at a record pace – the number of seats sold for trains in the Christmas period is about one third more than last year. This Sunday, 11 December, new timetables will also take effect and VR will add hundreds of trains to different parts of Finland. The journey from Helsinki to Oulu will be even faster – now less than 5 1/2 hours at the fastest.

VR estimates that about 100 000 passengers will use the train to get to their destination this Christmas. On Friday 23 December, a record-long super train consisting of 15 carriages and with almost 1 500 seats will set off from Helsinki to Rovaniemi.

- It is wonderful that Finnish people have found train travel. The permanently cheaper prices and the shorter journey times between the big cities have clearly met the needs of our customers. The train will take everyone to their destination comfortably and safely for Christmas, says Maisa Romanainen, Senior Vice President for VR Passenger Services.

Northbound traffic is expected to get busier on Thursday evening (22 December) and continue to be busy until the last departures on Friday, 23 December. Christmas Eve is the busiest travel day, and many of the night trains to the North of Finland have almost been sold out by now. About 4 000 cars and 40 000 passengers in sleeping compartments will travel to the north on VR in December.

Most of the daytime trains still have seats available on both outbound and return traffic around Christmas. The super train operating on Christmas Eve will have 15 double-deck cars, 2 restaurant cars and 5 conductors serving the customers. Almost half of the seats in the super train have already been sold.

Southbound return traffic concentrates on Boxing Day (26 December), when trains operate according to Sunday timetables. At New Year, normal Saturday (31 December) and Sunday (1 January) timetables will be operated. On Thursday 5 January, trains operate according to Friday timetables and on 6 January (Epiphany) Sunday timetables; however, trains that only operate on Sundays will not be operated.

Additional trains to Russia at the turn of the year – travel has picked up

The turn of the year is a busy time also in trains between Finland and Russia. In addition to the usual Tolstoy trains between Helsinki and Moscow, seven additional trains will operate between 31 December and 8 January. Some of the Allegro services between Helsinki and St. Petersburg around the turn of the year will also operate two trainsets, which means that the trains can carry twice as many passengers as usually. Train travel is picking up in Russia and VR expects growth also at the beginning of the year. More than 800 000 customers travel to Russia on VR every year. An increasing number of journeys are made especially to St. Petersburg, and the number of people travelling on Allegro this December is expected to be 5 per cent higher than last year.

Christmas is seen and heard at stations – have your presents wrapped in ticket offices

Christmas can be seen and heard in VR’s trains and railway stations in many ways. The railway stations of Helsinki, Tampere, Rovaniemi, Kemi and Kolari, and Pasila car-carrier stations will have staff guiding customers in the platform area during the Christmas week. In addition, customers at Helsinki and Tampere can have their Christmas shopping wrapped while they buy their ticket on Tuesday 20 December and Wednesday 21 December between 12.00 and 18.00. The presents will be wrapped in VR’s Christmas wrapping paper.

New timetables valid from 11 December – VR adds hundreds of trains to different parts of Finland

Train connections across Finland will improve considerably as VR’s new timetables take effect on the coming Sunday, 11 December. There will be several additional trains and stops that customers have asked for. There will be almost 250 new train services per week. Also, train connections to the north will become even quicker as the construction work on the Pohjanmaa track moves forward. At its fastest, the journey to Oulu will take less than 5 1/2 hours. Additional information on new train services and routes is available here.

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